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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT

Second Advisor

Ann Williams, PhD, PT


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of six weeks of therapeutic horseback riding on the temporal displacement components of the gait of two adults with traumatic head injuries. Subjects: Two adult females status post traumatic head injury, who were participating in a hippotherapy program per referral by their physicians, participated in this study. Method: Footprint gait analysis was used to measure step length, stride length, step width, foot angle, and cadence. Measurements were taken at three points in time: pretest #1 and pretest #2 occurred one week apart and prior to initiation of the hippotherapy sessions. A posttest occurred at the conclusion of the hippotherapy sessions. Results and Conclusions: Both subjects increased their step and stride lengths and cadences. Subject A increased her step width and subject B decreased her step width. The foot angle changes, measured in subject B only, were unremarkable. Hippotherapy appeared to have been beneficial for both subjects as their strength, coordination, and stability seemed to improve as evidenced by their gait improvements. However, other interventions may also have had an effect during this time. Generalizations can not be made to a population of adults with head injuries due to the limited nature of this study.


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